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tv   Le Trice Donaldson Duty Beyond the Battlefield  CSPAN  August 21, 2022 12:55am-2:01am EDT

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>> my name is james taub, the public program specialist here where we have been teaching the lasting impact and legacy of the great war since 1926. if you would like more information about the museum or memorial visit our website. now, i would like to introduce you to sites -- to tonight's speaker, the trees donald 10, a professor of history at texas a&m corpus christi specializing
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in 19th-century african-american military history, the gilded age, world war i, and military history. she works at the intersection of race, gender, military service, and in the long civil rights movement and is the author of duty beyond the battlefield, african-american soldiers, the fight for racial citizenship and manhood 1870 to 1920. and, a voyage through the african-american experience. she is the editor of a new book series. "the black soldier in war and society: new narratives and critical perspectives." with the university of virginia press. herb current book is that her current book is "the history of the armies black chaplains." she is the w.e.b. dubois fellow with the university of
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massachusetts amherst. she earned her phd from the university of memphis and bachelors and masters from the university of tennessee knoxville. without further ado, in conjunction with the traveling exhibition "black citizenship under the age of jim crow." curated by the new york historical society and sponsored by the bank of america i would like to welcome to the stage dr. latrice donaldson. >> thank you very much. congratulations for getting -- being one of the host cities of the 2020 since world cup. my hometown of philadelphia is also one of the host cities. i am equally excited about the possibilities of the world cup being hosted in the u.s..
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so this evening we will journey through a discussion of hope in darkness. what does it mean to hope in darkness? noted french author george bernardo stated "optimism is a substitute for hope. one may encounter optimism everywhere, but hope must be one. one can only obtain help at cost of great patience. when one comes to the end of the night, one meets another don. hope is a virtue. a strength and determination of the soul. the highest form of hope is despair, overcome that" -- overcome.". thinking about african-american military experience during jim crowe it is the embodiment of hope through darkness, hope
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through despair. when looking at this experience, it is amazing to really grasp the kind of challenges and different experiences that these soldiers were able to overcome and to be successful. a part of that has to do with how they perceive and conceive of their military service. so, hope is despair overcome. for nardo's description of hope indicates a battle with darkness that we eventually went, but in which winning is not necessarily the part where we finally have hope. the entire experience, the battle itself, is a pass-through hope. black soldiers in the black community remain forever hopeful. when you are hopeful, that means you believe no matter what transpires, the outcome is bent towards the greater good.
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first sergeant vance in 1927, while living at fort what you gonna was asked to give a talk to a conviction -- convention of sunday school teachers in mcnary, arizona, a lumber camp town of about 1500 people. several african-american men were imported to mcnary to work at the sawmill. the audience happened to be made up of mostly these migrant african-american workers. the title of his speech was " reminiscence of a trooper at fort apache in 1900." after talking briefly about his experiences around fort apache, mark banks served over 40 plus years in the military. his son went on to serve as a tuskegee airmen and a medical professional in the field of aerospace medicine.
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essentially, he grew up on a military base, because that is where his dad spent most of his time. after talking briefly about his experiences around fort apache, he then goes on to make an eloquent statement about patriotism, about the contributions of the "colored soldier" to the nation and about injustice. he felt he had duties beyond the battlefield so i will read you a snippet of the speech. "while the primary objective of a soldier is to prepare for more, he realizes very seriously that new patriotism has other duties than those armed conflict duties, less splendid, but no less brave, requiring a bravery of a greater order than shown upon 100 battlefields of our war. the colored soldier fought
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bravely in the revolutionary war, civil war, spanish-american war, and the world war. the negro league not be given justice through the valerie and justice displayed through the mortgage it will be through the cooperative efforts of every member of the neagle race intelligently pleading his case before the public. there are millions of american white people who are ashamed of the treatment according to the colored american in the united states. the case will have to be presented until there are millions more shamed the way he is treated. an equal chance here. ladies and gentlemen, and recalling from my memory that it was through these woods over these very hills and mountains that you now hold that members of my regiment, some of whom have long since crossed over the great divide, displayed valor and gallantry that is unknown to history. it was these men who made it possible for you and me and all the inhabitants of the southwest
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to live here in peace and tranquility. so i ask you, notwithstanding all of the sufferings and death sacrifices for civilization. at this time, people the race are not allowed to vote in the primary election of the state of texas." on a side note, that is where i now. it is a very interesting place. "they must ride through jim crow cars on the railroad. and worst at all, once in a while, one is hanged or burned at the state. if you want equal rights in this country, if you want to make yourself felt, if you do not want your children to wait long years to have bread on the table , leisure in their lives they ought to have, the opportunity in life they ought to have, if you do not want to wait yourselves, right on your banner so every political tremor can read it so, every politician can read it no matter how
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shortsighted he may be, can read it, and state we never forget. we never forget. we never forget. so what would it take to motivate a person? what would it take to motivate a person to crawl two miles on their hands and knees in the middle of the arizona desert after being shot multiple times? what what it take to motivate a man to continue to participate in a gun battle for over 20 minutes even after being shot in the stomach? what would it take for you to keep fighting, knowing that the enemy shooting at you has a higher ground? similar to anakin and obi-wan. what would motivate a 53-year-old man to ride on horseback from ohio to washington, d.c.? what would motivate a man who dedicated most of his life to
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music but decided during world war i or the great war that he would become a counter intelligence operative and spy and collect intelligence and sabotage his own community? this all encompasses the idea of duty be on the battlefield, which sergeant banks was talking about. when thinking about these questions, first you have to get a little perspective. what i created here is the timeline in which we have the introduction of african-americans into the regular army. and it begins directly after the civil war with the army reorganization act of 1866 and the first black officer to graduate from west point. and he becomes a second lieutenant in the cavalry. but one of the things that is
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important to really grasp what we think about african-americans serving in the military was that prior to the reorganization act of 1860 six, they fought in the revolutionary war. they fought in the war of 1812. they served in the mexican-american war. but they did so not as citizens. so at the end of the civil war after serving and fighting in the civil war, the decision says they are allowed to serve and fight because they were worthy of citizenship. progressing on, looking at in 1884 the introduction of henry plummer as the first black chaplain into the regular army. this is very important because it is black chaplains who are going to be responsible for the education and teaching these black soldiers how to be citizens. and what that citizenship means.
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and having someone such as plummer, who was a man to the first official black chaplain who ever served in any military service, henry mcneil turner, is very important in thinking about the ideas of being very active and radical in their activism and wanting to assert their citizenship. in 1918, having charles young being the highest ranking african-american to be promoted to full bird colonel, and in 1940, benjamin davis senior, one of charles young's mentees, being promoted to brigadier general. in looking at the timeline, you have a series of progress. this is where when i am talking
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about hope and darkness, there is progress because of the fact that this was not something that happened in isolation. these were consisting campaigns the african-american community fought for. they fought to have african-americans included at west point and at the naval academy. naval academy took great pride in the fact that they forcibly pushed out all of the black people who attempted to graduate. there were only three black graduates who made it out of west point. and having henry plummer as well as getting charles young promoted and eventually having been davis be promoted to being the first general. all of these things are part of a long progression of activism within the african american community to push for a consistent promotion of black soldiers and officers in the military. ok. going forward, when thinking about these questions and this
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legacy that is important to remember and pay respect that the legacies built upon the foundation of people who were so strong that no matter the odds, they would not be defeated. you all know about the civil rights movement. however, what we will examine today is the idea of incorporating this campaign for african-american military service into the discussion of the long civil rights movement. so african-americans who wore the clock of the nation often lost their lives returning home by those they risked their lives to protect. military uniform of the u.s. army has the transfer but of ability to change a slave into a soldier, military service african-american men allowed them to construct their identity within their military service. these men became trained to defend themselves and their community against racist attacks.
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it meant serving at home and abroad. the agency these men enacted our serving is bold and violent. simply by waving the uniform, it sent a message to jim crow america of their rejection and exclusion and willingness to fight as a man and citizen. what we will look at now is the spanish-american and cuban filipino conflict and the third north carolina volunteer infantry. the third north carolina, which was organized by james young, in a groundbreaking study, james young with -- was the scribe as the most outstanding need growing in the state -- was described as the most outstanding negro in the state. his life as a career soldier greatly influenced young's desire to participate in military service. the father made sure his son was
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properly educated and help get his son a job once he graduated from university. young became heavily -- young became a tax revenue collector and became heavily involved in the communicative he believed in racial uplift and ran stories and wrote editorials while writing for the raleigh gazette, providing a political voice for the black community in north carolina forget his story on my part important not only because he played an important role in north carolina's politics but because he was an organizer and driving force behind the third north carolina volunteer infantry. in 1898, similar to what john mitchell junior, the editor of the richmond planet did, he call for young black officers. young actually served in the regiment and was promoted while
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promoting his newspaper. he served as the lead officer in that regimen. despite his beliefs in pacifism, he did believe it was necessary for african-americans to serve in this war. he believed the need of the race to be put above his own. he went out and encouraged black men to serve in the military and helped getting large numbers of black men to enlist and garnered large numbers of black support for the war. he was dedicated to not only being the editor of the raleigh gazette but also focusing attention on this black military service in north carolina. so when looking at colonel young, james young that is, and when the third was called to serve, the battalion was called the black battalion armor court. it comprised of new recruits who were members of the state guard. young fought relentlessly to get
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enough men to compromise. -- to comprise the entire regiment. he traveled all over the state to recruit young men and was successful in raising an entire regiment. the third became a great source of pride not only for the african-american community in north carolina but also african-americans across the country. the third not have the same kind of problems as in virginia. the third was trained in georgia and knoxville, tennessee, but their regimental commander james young was able to escape a lot of the negative press and negative violence being directed towards the all-black six virginia in knoxville. so both regiments did communicate with one another despite being separated in camps. they faced similar hostilities. after the murder of one of their own for robert thomas of wilson, north carolina, after his death
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a couple of white soldiers went missing and were feared dead. following these events, several members of the third were discharged without any explanation. it adds to this idea of retaliation as well as defending their own community. it goes back to pushing against the idea that when violence happens against african-americans, they did not just let it happen. black soldiers were a source of pride in defending the black community. james young the third and north alina were a source of pride because they were reviewed by the then president william mckinley on december 21 and received a special accommodation from the secretary of war. despite being a source of great pride, the third was not received at home with a hero's welcome by the whites of their state. while however, this did not
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prevent members of the third from continuing their military service. at least five officers from the third were commissioned to serve in all-blacktwo -- in two all-black volunteer regiments. he was asked to help with recruitment of african-americans to join the forces. james young organized the third in the military because he believed it would benefit african-americans. young's dedication to racial uplift motivated him not only to fight for blacks politically and militarily, but he fought also for black education. young's historical legacy focuses on his educational platforms but there was more to him than just a politician and educator or editor. he was a soldier. young did not have to serve. he chose to serve. he chose to be an example to his
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men. young was able to bring pride and racial uplift to the community by putting on the uniform. he was able to inspire young men to serve and fight not only for the country but for their community. james young was a man and soldier. his legacy should be a reflection of this image. black soldiers while serving in the philippines during the filipino conflict of 1899 to 1905 created empathy of color to help them create bonds and relationships with the filipino civilian population. another part of this service in the philippines was the no officers, no fight campaign that was started by john mitchell junior. african-americans are going to vocally oppose the inhumane treatment of the filipino
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population by publishing letters in john mitchell junior's paper. that helped bring light to the horrific treatment that the civilian filipino population are being exposed to at the hands of white soldiers. african-americans realized it was a paradoxical nature of their military service that allowed them to fight in an unjust war but still felt empathy for the very people they were fighting against. the filipinos understood this and maintained in some commute is a positive relationship with black soldiers. one which was oftentimes envious of the wright brothers in arms. black men fighting in the philippines distinguished themselves on the battlefield. they built relationships and helped reveal many of the atrocities committed by racist white soldiers and officers in writing letters home to the newspapers. we struggle for fair treatment was spotted every corner of
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american society, even our military. the army act is one of the main proponents of change by being one of the first organizations that would integrate but at the pressure of the black community. this is why it happened much sooner than in private organizations. the movement to force the military to desegregate began first with the admittance of african-americans into the u.s. military academy. so this goes back to what i was saying in regards to tying in the campaign to fight for african-american military services all tied together with the fight for civil rights. the idea, the belief that having black soldiers and black officers serving is equally as important as having voting rights as well as having civil rights, etc. so when thinking about what military service meant to them, they understood their service was never just their own. for example, you have here an
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image of isaiah main -- isaiah mays, the young man i was talking about who crawled two miles on his knees after being shot multiple times throughout arizona desert to get help after his unit was ambushed in 1889 in a robbery where they were completely outnumbered and two members of his unit were awarded the medal of honor -- were awarded the medal of honor. he was wearing his medal of honor medal, right? it it, you have this clear idea that his service was never just his own. this quote here from the chaplain of the 25th injury, one of the buffalo soldier units, clearly surmises what their
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service meant. the ambition to be all that soldiers should be is not confined to a few of these spots of an unfortunate race. they are possessed with the notion that the colored people of the whole country are more or less affected by their conduct in the army. they understood that their service was never just their own. black military service for these soldiers was never just confined to isaiah mays or this young man here, who was the second black west point graduate, john hanks alexander, but rather their service was for the entire community, that everything they did was a reflection of that community. that is what it means to have this duty be on the battlefield as banks stated. so when thinking about another aspect of creating duty be on the battlefield, we take a look at the life of lieutenant
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colonel allensworth. lt. col. allensworth retired from the u.s., forever changing the institution. he basically served for over 20 years. allensworth decided after moving to los angeles, california, to live a simple life with his family, his legacy as a trailblazer would be secured. he was the first african-american promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel and wrote two educational guidelines while serving as a chaplain for the 24th infantry that were adopted by the u.s. army and used to reorganize the army's educational system for enlisted personnel. he believed education in the military provided black men a nuanced understanding of their citizenship and would make them more effective and active and responsible citizens. he emphasized this point in a paper he delivered in 1891 saying in the early history of the army it was considered sufficient for a soldier to march and handle a gun.
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this view has changed and is now recognized as fact that to be a good soldier, a man must be a good citizen. at 66 years old, he did not retreat to simple life. in 1908, he and his family went and founded a self-sufficient, independent, all-black freedom colony in california. the founding of allensworth, california came from the stifling nature -- came from his discussed with the stifling nature of jim crow america. he was building for those yet to come. allensworth, california, lasted until the 1920's. in fact, this footage here is the remnants of the town. allensworth structured it similar to a military barracks. he designed and laid out the mapping of it. unfortunately, because he was
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hit by a trolley car, he died and the town kind of fell apart after his death. in the center, you have these two images of some of the descendants of the original founders of the town and now it is a national park. when thinking about his goal, he founded an independent black colony that could be a safe haven away from the violence and racial oppression going on in the rest of america. it was successful. there is no telling what would have happened if he had not have died, but unfortunately, he does pass away and it leads to the eventual demise of allensworth. in thinking about another aspect that happened during this period is looking at the types of ways that african-american soldiers are going to react to
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violence and jim crow laws. a look at the houston race rebellion of 1917 all the hot texas day of may 15, 1916, jesse washington stood stoically in front of a crowd of 15,000 people in waco, texas. he was then lynched and castrated. his body was tied to a car and dragged through the streets. jesse washington's death resonated with the black soldiers stationed in texas protecting america's border. the men vented their frustration to another and decided to donate to the naacp's anti-lynching campaign regularly. the murder of jesse washington was coming nationwide in the black press and the fact that no one was ever punished stayed with the men of the 24th infantry. the summer of 1917 served as a
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period of racial violence and unrest in america. there was an uprising involving nearly 100 members of the 24th infantry. when the third battalion of the 24th transferred to security detail, the tensions among the black soldiers and why civilians were already running high. the houston police have repeatedly clashed with soldiers in the weeks leading up to the rebellion, and the day of the rebellion, the police pursued a young man into a home. the officer proceeded to drive the african woman out of her home and into the street half naked calling for a paddy wagon. the neighbors of the woman tried to intervene, and that is when the private stepped forward to defuse the situation, pay the fine for the woman that was in custody. the men left their parents after they heard that two one police officers had beaten two members of that regiment. as stated previously, texas law enforcement officers all over the state were acting more like vigilantes toward black soldiers
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than police officers. so when private edwards came to defend a black woman being attacked by the embers of the houston police department, it only added fuel to the fire of a tense situation. edwards was beaten and arrested. corporal baltimore went to check on private edwards and he was also beaten and arrested. so when news got back to sergeant henry vida, who initially tried to calm the men down after hearing about what was happening, he eventually is going to lead a group of soldiers into houston and lead an attack against the houston police. some of the men involved with you -- with the houston uprising were still angry about what happened to their brothers in arms and browsable, texas, where the then president
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discharged three companies of the 25th infantry without having a chance to tell their side of the story. they were later all exonerated and reinstated in the 1970's, but there was only one surviving member who was able to receive his pension. their name was eventually cleared. additionally, you have the race riot of east st. louis, the violent lynching in memphis in which a black man's head was tossed down the black business district, and the lynching of jesse washington, all led to factors that helped anger these african-american servicemen of between fourth and every reaction to want to participate in this racial uprising. the motive of the soldiers of the 24th two participated in the class with houston police truly stemmed from this frustration. the men of the 24th would not face immediate discharge like the 24th infantry, but they
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suffered through two trials and the largest court-martial in u.s. military history. the image up there at the very top is an image from that court-martial. american -- but the african-american community stood in solidarity with the black troopers. "i will be beyond the veil. i am sentenced to be hanged for the trouble in houston, texas. although i am not guilty of the crime i am accused of, one of the soldiers assigned to the hanging details described the final moments of the men executed on december 11, 1917, as emotional and somber. the men silently marched to the gallows and a noose was placed around his neck, broke out in song and sing "lord, i'm coming home."
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the support within the black community for these troops was so strong that it was brought to the attention of lieutenant colonel walter levy, who was the chief counterintelligence officer for the u.s. army military intelligence division in the u.s.. he was a former bandleader but was recruited to be the head of the domestic surveillance program of african-americans during world war i. he feared that there was going to be a demonstration during one of the funerals of one of the men that was hung. he goes and persuades the family of one of the executed soldiers to have a private ceremony because they planned to use his funeral to protest wilson and the war. w.e.b. dubois publicly agonized over the situation by stating "it is difficult for one of the
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neagle -- negro blood to ride to houston." the soldiers rebelled against racial oppression and violated the law and military authority. yes, the black community did not shun these soldiers. in fact, the only cases of someone being jailed in the espionage act of world war i came as a result of the editor of the baltimore african-american calling the executed soldiers martyrs. the editor of the senate of your inquirer took the support a step further and published a letter from a black woman from austin, texas. she gave voice to the population of african-americans who appreciated the men coming to the defense of a black woman's honor. "rest assured that every degree
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woman in the land of ours augers you, would rather see you shot by the highest tribunal of the u.s. army because you dared protect the woman from the consult of a southern route in the form of a policeman than have you forced to go to europe to fight for a liberty you can enjoy. negro women regret you mutinied and we are sorry you spilled innocent blood, but we are not sorry that five policeman bones now bleach the graves of houston, texas. it is far better that you be shot for you trying to protect negro women rather than fighting in europe to make the world safe for a democracy of joint -- democracy you cannot enjoy." however, this caused a bit of a problem with the brigadier general who was the acting judge
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general. the men were executed immediately upon termination of the trial. so far as he could see, they were not given the opportunity to seek clemency. therefore, he was going to issue an order which prohibited the execution of a sentence in any case involving death for review by an army tribunal. the naacp and black community sits as other defendants were tried and another six men were executed. no white civilians were charged at the 21 police officers that were indicted were released. all who were convicted were commuted after a long and vigorous campaign led by the naacp. a historian in a book said "more than any other factor, seven white supremacists feared that
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by fighting in the blood to become a black soldiers would see themselves as true american citizens worthy of social equality with knights and inevitably encourage other african-americans to think and act likewise. these men understood they were seen as race leaders. in many instances, the black press constructed black soldiers as saviors and would be martyrs for the benefit of the race. " do boys takes this is to further and says "always we pay, always we die. whether right or wrong, so many killed and wounded, but here at last, houston is a change. we did not have houston to know that black men would always be mere victims. we asked why, why must this all be at waco, memphis, e st. louis, houston?
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all along, and or g of torture -- an orgy of torture." these men understood that they not only carried the weight of the flag but they carried the weight on their shoulders. when looking at this, there is no other person who symbolizes and embodies this idea of hope and darkness then the final years the military career years of colonel charles young. when the united states entered world war i, segregation was entrenched in military culture as well as civilian society. it put up barriers to prevent african-americans from enlisting . and despite this, three hundred 80,000 african-americans served in the u.s. military during the war. colonel charles young mounted his horse on june 6, 1918, and begin a difficult 16 day journey to washington, d.c.
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he rode on horseback for 497 miles. he crossed ohio, west virginia, maryland, and virginia in two weeks. young completed his ride on june 26 when he arrived at the district of columbia. he was tired and worn but healthy. young was pushed out of the army after he was promoted to colonel because he was also do next in line to be promoted to brigadier general. that would mean he would have to command white soldiers and that is a problem. so he was forcibly retired with high blood pressure. shortly after his arrival, he rode up to the secretary of war and was granted a personal audience with the secretary of war, emmett j scott, who was a special assistant to the secretary of war. so he walked into the office and baker says, colonel young, i
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have been heaving a great deal about you. the african-american press was following every aspect of young's rig -- ride. you have this individual who when he was the third and last black west point graduate, colonel young took a very different path in regards to his military service. when he signed pictures for people who asked for his autograph, he always signed it "for race and country." he was dedicated to the idea of racial uplift. his best friend was w.e.b. dubois. one of his first jobs was at the university where charles young was teaching. young was very much -- actually, it was the first black military intelligence officer to serve overseas in liberia.
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young is going to happily advocate -- happily advocate for the american military to protect liberia from the possible encroachment of germany into trying to make liberia one of its colonies. this is one of the reasons why liberia was never, -- was never colonized. charles young was going to be the most famous african-american soldier well into the 1960's, even more than ben davis because of his commitment to racial uplift and the black community. so this illustration is a map that was shown in the black newspapers that followed young's 16 day journey. in fact, the title was ride, charlie, right. in looking at young's life, he
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was reinstated. ok. however, the wilson administration had the case. initially when wilson goes to meet with baker, baker is like, yes, thank you, i appreciate you coming, we will see what we can do, but initially he said no. there was more increased pressure from the black community to reinstate him. they eventually reinstate him. he is eventually going to be sent back over to liberia to serve and train under the labor military as well as serve to spy on what the british are doing in nigeria. he contracts a black fever and he dies in 1922. he is buried with full military honors in liberia. i'm sorry.
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he is buried with full military honors in nigeria, but the african-american community campaign for over a year to return him back to the united states. so he has two funerals, one in new york, one in d.c. his funeral is declared a national holiday by the african-american community. over 1000 people lined the streets to attend his service. in 1923, this image down here, it is held in arlington's amphitheater and was larger than the ceremony of the unknown soldier that was held i think right after world war i. the pride that charles young represented goes to the point where they celebrated charles young day at hbcu's well into the 1960's. so when thinking about the legacy, what it means, military
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service, what it meant to have a soldier who understood that when he served he was serving for race and country, this is the legacy that young left behind. so what does it take to make people keep fighting against inequalities despite all the odds? it is the deep-rooted internal strength and hope that says, i will never accept defeat. just like in the warm your eat those, the strength comes from saying, i will never quit. today we talked about the history of african-americans in the army and how black soldiers in their community found hope during the darkest of times. race and racism is a choice and a political projection. in order for us to get where races can make a difference, we have to first acknowledge the difference race has made. this is why we need to we shape the narrative of black soldiers. we need to move away from
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projecting them as simply pa wns and rather active players in the game. i believe you with the words of sergeant banks as he perfected on his life. he said, "i have made a humble effort to serve my country as a soldier and citizen. i have no excuses to offer for my failure or success. i am willing to rest my case. should i have possessed more education in my early days my case might have been different. as it was and is, the water has got over the dam. not all of it, however. as long as i live, i shall hold my head high and move forward." i encourage you today while honoring the legacy of those who fight injustice to look deeply into yourself, to make a choice where you always stand up for what is right. only through the actions of brave people can we continue to make changes for a positive future. thank you. [applause]
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>> ladies and gentlemen, if you have a question for dr. dotson, please -- dr. donaldson, please feel free to step up to a microphone at the end of a child. or if you need -- at the end of each aisle. or if you need assistance, that will be provided. please feel free to type your question into the comment box. we are monitoring that as well. i am going to take sophist provision as a person holding the microphone to kick off with the first question. you referenced several volunteer units in the 19th century and 20th century composed of only african-american troops. what was the relationship like between african-american national guardsmen and the duties of the national guard, which were so often called up in cases of race riots or other disturbances in the years prior
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to the first world war? dr. donaldson: initially depending on what state you were in, there were no black national guardsmen in the south at the beginning of the 20th century. they were going to be outlawed. it is only going to be in washington, d.c., an illinois where you have very different responses. in the south where you have the racial why it's -- racial riots where rights go into black neighborhoods and destroy them, in chicago they do not do that because the black guardsmen are there. the black guardsmen veterans are there to protect the neighborhoods. in washington, d.c., it turns into a full on war for a bit during the race riot that happens there. but in states like new york or wisconsin about where you have black guardsmen, there are not that many issues per se with their service. they are just there.
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it is only in areas where you have these kinds of uprisings where you see a clear distinction where they are going to protect the black community from being attacked and are going to be successful. areas where there used to be black guardsmen like in wilmington, north carolina, the third have been disbanded by that point so wilmington, the black neighborhood in wilmington will get destroyed because the third is not there. it may have been different, but like i said, at the turn of the 20th century, most other states will purposefully push african-americans out of the militia and not allow them to serve until essentially world war ii really. >> any questions? >> you have one online, dr. donaldson. thank you so much. this is not the kind of thing included in the textbooks i
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teach from. really appreciate your lecture. with such limited time to share in a classroom, if you had to prioritize just a couple of the stories or names, who would you want every american high school teacher to be including in their study and teaching of world war i or the reconstruction era up until that point? dr. donaldson: i would want them to include charles young. his life, being he was born in slavery, and the things he was able to accomplish. his father was a civil war veteran. they escaped slavery from kentucky to ohio. he passes the exam to go to west point. he is a linguist. he writes plays. he speaks german. in fact, when he was harassed at west point, he would begin singing in german at the right students would just be like, he
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is crazy. he would start singing in german or latin. he is fluent in latin and french and creates the language handbook for the marines in translating haitian creole. he is one of these amazing individuals whose life was honored by the african-american community in the 1960's who kind of got forgotten because we do not celebrate charles young day anymore. >> ok. i have two questions. i will say the first one. could you first please reiterate what it means to be a black chaplain and how the african-american military were taught to engage in society with segregation after coming out of the war? dr. donaldson: ok. that is a great question. one of the things the black chaplains were required to do
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was had to teach them to read and write. ploeger, william anderson, they are going to be teaching them about what it needs to be a citizen. so a one of the ways they would do this, for example, you have them when they are out in the community and wearing the uniform. a young man who saw a poor black kid went and bought him clothes. it is the little things with regards to what that means. they know that people are watching them, right? and what they would do outside of that in regards to organizing and maintaining good for example, you have a group of black veterans who founded blockton coming to mexico -- blockton, new mexico. if you never heard of it, it is ok, but it is a town in new mexico that was an oil town.
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it actually was one of the first african-american owned oil towns . it was something that allowed for blacks to invest in oil and be wealthy in the 1920's and 1930's into the depression. you have these situations where veterans are going to provide opportunities in regards to business as well as serving in the -- in tulsa. you had a chaplain of the african blood brothers, which was a secret organization comprised of mostly black veterans who in tulsa provided a level of protection and perimeter for blacks who could escape tulsa. they would do things like that and provide ways to be safe for the black community. >> and then my second question
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is, after 100 years, we are still seeing similarities with police against african-american citizens. how do you think the past can inform the present? dr. donaldson: i think that the past can inform the present if we spent a bit more time really examining and internalize the institutionalized ways in which the oppressive acts continue happening. the fact is that the same conversations that we are having in the 20th century with the black press and everything, it does not exist in the same way anymore and therefore you don't have the same kind of pressure. the only way you can make something really change as you have to keep consistent pressure. if you focus on that pressure and looking at ways to say you have to change, you have to look
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at new training methods, etc., those are some of the things that would make a difference in trying to push back against that institutionalized viewpoint. for example, you have white officers who consistently go after black soldiers, black officers in uniform forget why does that anger them so much for something -- so much? it is something that has angered them since the civil war. the presence of african americans in uniform was something that always triggered certain segments of the population. thank you for your questions. >> first, i want to say that this program shows that once again african-americans can make something out of nothing, the old saying, that with our pride, we make something out of nothing. my question is that i saw that you had in the promotion it was
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1918 and then the next one was 1940. why the big gap? dr. donaldson: so ben davis was not charles young. when i say that charles young was beloved by the black community, he was beloved. he was a much better officer to be honest. ben davis was not an active civil rights advocate. his career when he got promoted, also was not a west point graduate. his son was. you know him from the tuskegee airmen, but davis is not going to follow that path, and he will be very quiet. he does not engage with the black community in the way that young does. therefore, you don't get that pressure from the black community to promote him the way they did for young.
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also, young was a much better officer, better soldier than davis. you still don't have that kind of pressure where people are constantly saying, hey, you know, do voices not been davis's friend. he is the friend of jan and the editor. like what are we doing about charles young? what can we do to get charles young? emmett scott is showing up. those kinds of relationships. davis does not build those. he chooses not to. he thought that young was too active, so he followed a different path. that is one of the reasons why he does not get promoted until 1940. >> thank you. dr. donaldson: great question. >> so for world war i and the
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brand-new army air corps, where there are in fact any black flyers? were they able to go to other countries and fly? how does that end up? dr. donaldson: ok. great question. thank you so much. there was a black flyer named eugene ballard, but he flew with the french. there were no african-americans to fly for the u.s. during world war i. they were not allowed to. in fact, it was a white officer who pushes eugene ballard out of the army, the french air corps. there are no blacks who will serve in world war i. one of the things, you asked why you have a change. you have a change in leadership in george marshall.
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you have a more receptive person but a totally organized and focused campaign with an ally in eleanor roosevelt. eugene bullard will be the first african-american to fly combat if missions for the french during world war i, and he is the only one. >> thank you. >> ladies and gentlemen, if you can join me one more time in thinking
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this session first ladies impact and influence will explore the many ways in which first ladies? have shaped history as the closest advisor. to the president as advocates for both change and continuity. and as well as how they influenced america society. politics culture and diplomacy now i have a very great pleasure. of


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